Healthy Living

Is Cannabis the Answer to Colitis?

Cannabis: Other colitis treatments

Other colitis treatments

The FDA has approved several drugs for the treatment of colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases. Though effective in the short-term, some in the medical community have complained the long-lasting impacts, like damage to the colon, make the drugs ineffective for sustained use.

Corticosteroids, or steroids, are a hormone naturally produced in the body to suppress inflammation, boost the immune system, and assist in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Additionally, a sub-set of corticosteroids regulate the balance of salt and water in the body.

Manufactured versions, administered orally or by injection, are used to treat arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, allergies, and colitis. Reported side-effects include weight gain, growth retardation, insomnia, mood swings, and depression.

For people with colitis, corticosteroids are often a first line of treatment for immediate relief. Corticosteroids decrease levels of inflammatory cytokines, which are over-produced with colitis.

Common commercial versions of corticosteroids are Entocort, Uceris, and Rhinocort. Long-term steroid use is an effective option for colitis because side-effectives, like weight gain and high blood pressure, are so pronounced and common.

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors (TNF inhibitors) is another common drug therapy for colitis.

The body produces the protein TNF, also a cytokine, in the blood to regulate immune cells during trauma. TNF induces fear, stops the replication of viruses, kills off bad cells, and causes inflammation—the body’s way of limiting the impact of wounds and pathogens while sending healing mechanisms.

A healthy body blocks excess TNF while a body suffering from colitis or Crohn’s produces excess TNF, causing excess inflammation. TNF inhibitors—such as Remicade, Enbrel, and Humira—block the excess production.